This summer I want to take Lily and Grace swimming as often as possible. Not just to rush there, cram in an hour, and rush to the next thing, but to really slow down and savor our time together.
I want to take turns going off the diving board with Lily and sliding down the water slide with Grace. I want to eat our packed lunches in the grass together during pool checks and play diving stick games in the shallow end.
How will I do that and still keep a clean house?
By having a few home blessing hours throughout the week!
Basically, a home blessing hour is when the family spends an hour cleaning their home to bless those within it.
For us, a home blessing hour isn’t a literal hour. It’s an approximation. We have a list of chores to complete and when they’re done, they’re done.
What do we accomplish during our home blessing hour?
That depends on how messy things are!
Yesterday morning we were able to completely clean all three levels and do a few loads of laundry in less than 90 minutes!
On days when our house is messier, a home blessing hour may just mean tidying up the main level (leaving out the schoolroom and basement).
Here are a few tips on how to accomplish home blessing hours in your own home:
1) Maximize high-energy times.
One of my children cleans the best in the mornings when she’s fresh – she likes knowing that as soon as her chores are done, she’s free for the day!
My other child generally does pretty well any time of day when I assign tasks she enjoys – and the rest of us are happy to “let” her hand-wash dishes and vacuum the floors!
Do your children work the fastest in the morning or after lunch? Or maybe after quiet-time? Or in three 20-minute cleaning spurts instead of one longer session? Experiment with different times of the day and find out what works best for your family.
2) Work before play.
I know if I take my kids to the pool with the intent of cleaning after we come home, I’ll be setting myself up for disaster! Instead, we do the higher-energy cleaning tasks before we leave so we can sit down to fold laundry and watch Little House on the Prairie after we get home.
And as a bonus, my husband is really happy knowing that even though we’re spending the day playing, he still gets to come home to a really clean house after a long day at the office.
3) Keep meals simple.
It’s not really fun to spend an hour cleaning, then have to turn right around and make a huge mess in the kitchen! I have a whole section about simplifying meal prep in my free eBook. We usually have eggs or oatmeal with fresh fruit for breakfast, leftovers for lunch, and something like an easy meat with rice and a veggie for dinner.
4) Don’t start with a full hour if your kids aren’t used to helping.
If you don’t usually have your kids help you clean, don’t expect them to clean for an hour with a great attitude right away! Set the timer for 10 minutes and pick an easier room to tidy together. 10 minutes is better than nothing and it’s teaching valuable skills to children. Set the timer for a few extra minutes each time until they can help for about an hour.
5) Maintain a positive attitude.
When the kids lose focus and the house is a mess, it’s easy for stress levels to rise. Do your best not to come Unglued and to offer grace to your kids as you patiently redirect them back to the task on hand.
6) Be okay with good-enough.
Beds in our house are rarely made perfectly – but they’re made! The floor is probably never without crumbs – but it has less crumbs than it did before someone swept! The bathroom mirror is most definitely never without streaks – but the toothpaste is gone!
Letting little people help means letting go of perfection but it also means that children are learning to take pride in their work. And unless you’re planning on visiting your kids daily when they’re adults so you can clean and do their laundry, they need to be taught these habits now or they’ll likely struggle with basic housekeeping skills as adults.
As a huge bonus, involving your children in cleaning also means they’re learning that the more messes they make, the longer it takes to clean up 🙂
How does your family balance work and play?
PS You may also enjoy planning tips for a fabulous summer and 15 free summer activities you can do when you have 15 minutes or less.